Thursday, July 24, 2014

War in Europe?

July 24, 1914

Authoritative sources in London tell the New York Times that "developments are pending the Austro-Serbian crisis, which are likely to lead, if not to a great European war at least to a protracted period of international unrest."  This unrest would include the "outbreak of war in the Balkans."

All of this can be averted if there is a "complete back down" one or the other of the two triple alliances "into which the European powers are divided."

So far only Germany and Russia have been drawn into the Austro-Serbian quarrel.  The New York Times understands that Great Britain has "clearly and unmistakably taken a line of policy" that shows her "entente with France and Russia will be an essential factor in the balance between peace and war."

Germany will not get involved in the Austro-Serbian quarrel unless another nation prevents Austria from "obtaining satisfaction" for the murders of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife.    If another power interfered -- namely Russia -- Germany "would do her duty by her Austrian ally."

Russia has taken "up the challenge.  From St. Petersburg, a notice that Russia has decided to "intervene" in the crisis.  The Russian government will ask Austria to extend the time allowed for Serbia's response to Austria's ultimatum in order to allow European diplomacy to take action.

Britain and France have made it clear that they will support Russia if Germany "carries out her intention" of "resenting intervention by Russia."

The current situation in Europe is dire.  Austria cannot "recede from the position" she has taken with Serbia, while Russia is unlikely to abandon her support for Serbia.

All members of the British Cabinet have canceled their weekend plans.

There is little information on how Belgrade has reacted to Austria's ultimatum, as Austria-Hungary has put "obstacles" on "rapid telegraphic communication" with Serbia.    In the last 24 hours, the messages from Belgrade have been "few and insignificant."

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